OSU students busted for illegal downloading
Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
"The university has received 19 letters from the Recording Industry Association of America that they would like us to forward to students," said OSU spokesman Jim Lynch.
Of those 19 letters, Lynch said, only 17 could be traced to individuals through Resnet, Internet access available to students in OSU's residence halls. The university is still in the process of identifying and notifying the students.
The RIAA has an online team that logs on to certain peer-to-peer Web sites to monitor illegal activity, said Cara Duckworth, spokeswoman for the RIAA. She said they find IP addresses of people who have illegally shared music and send a letter to the person's Internet service provider.
"We ask the schools to forward on the letters to the students because the only thing we have are the IP addresses," Duckworth said. She said the school can match the IP address, which is an Internet protocol address unique to each computer, to the appropriate student because the university serves as an Internet service provider.
The letters, which are sent to the students, will offer them the chance for a settlement at a discounted rate before a lawsuit is filed.
The student is given 20 days to settle at the lower rate before a lawsuit is filed in a federal court.
According to the letter sent to students, the minimum damages under the Copyright Act is $750 for each copyrighted recording that has been shared. If a lawsuit is filed, that is the rate the students would most likely be forced to pay.
Duckworth said it does not matter how many songs a student has downloaded to be targeted for a lawsuit.
"There are no guidelines," Duckworth said. "Anyone who engages in illegal music theft is liable for a lawsuit."
Duckworth said they have a list of legal services for downloading music on their Web site and they encourage students to use those services.
"I think you have to use your best judgment," Duckworth said.
Although a site will say it is ad-supported, Duckworth said, the company just pockets the money rather than sending it where it belongs.
"If it's too good to be true, then it usually is," she said.
Lynch said the 17 students who have been caught shows OSU does not have a big problem with the illegal downloading of music. Lynch said 17 is a small number of students compared to the number of students at OSU and the size of the campus.
"At a campus as large as OSU there undoubtedly will be a handful of students who don't follow the laws and break policy," Lynch said.
He said OSU was not named by the RIAA on its original list of violators, and the RIAA has not filed a lawsuit against an OSU student in two years.
Lynch also said this serves as a testament to the Acceptable Use Policy, which governs how students are allowed to use the Internet services. The policy states that illegally downloading or sharing copyrighted material will result in termination of services.
Among the 23 schools that are receiving letters for the first time are Pennsylvania State University and Case Western Reserve University.
Emily Valandingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.